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ConGen Tejada leads mask distribution to Filipino workers in Central

06 December 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Congen Tejada in Statue Square, distributing CUMasks he brought in a blue reusable bag

Consul General Raly Tejada urged Filipino workers to observe hygiene and social distancing after leading the distribution of nearly 13,000 reusable masks today, Dec 6, in Central on the first Sunday of stricter anti-coronavirus restrictions.

The Philippines’ top diplomat was assisted by Filipino community leaders Alann Cayosa Mas of Federation of Luzon Active Groups (Flag) and Marites Nuval of Global Alliance in distributing the six-layered CUMasks donated by the Hong Kong government.

ConGen Tejada said that despite the volume of work on Sunday at the Consulate, he felt the need to conduct the sortie because many of the Filipino domestic workers who take their day off on Sundays do not have the time to pick up a free mask at the PCG.

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“My fervent request to the Filipino community is for them to observe hygiene and social distancing rules to prevent Covid infection. In this time, we need to be personally responsible for our well being. It’s a fight for our very lives so we need to take the matter very seriously,” ConGen Tejada said after the sortie.

In a separate meeting with other Filcom leaders at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, Labor Attache Mel Dizon also urged FDWs to conform with anti-gathering restrictions, saying the HK government appears keen to crack down on violators.

Govt staff went about Central reminding everyone to keep their distance

Congen added, “It’s too bad that our traditional Christmas gatherings may now be limited but we have no choice. Ingat po ang lahat and konti pang tiis. This too shall pass.”

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He was referring to the contagion that, for the past 11 months, has infected dozens of OFWs in the city, caused thousands to lose their jobs, and prevented many from either coming to Hong Kong, or going home to be with their loved ones because of travel restrictions.

The distribution began at 3pm at Statue Square, with ConGen Tejada walking about with a blue plastic shopping bag slung on his shoulder, approaching groups of workers around the square and handing out the CuMask donated by the Hong Kong government.

The Filcom volunteers also carried similar bags as they dispersed and went around the periphery of Chater Road and World-Wide House handing out the masks to OFWs.

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Many of the workers did not recognize the Consulate’s top official when he gave them masks. Upon being told his identity, they all rushed to his side for a photograph. Another worker, a man, said, “Thank you, General.”

At the end of the day, ConGen Tejada said: “12,600 pieces po and napamigay natin today and we intend to distribute more in the coming weeks.”

Last month, he called leaders of some organizations registered with the Consulate and gave them CuMasks for distribution among their members.

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He did not say how many CuMasks were donated by the Hong Kong government, only saying, “Buhos po ang suporta ng Hong Kong government sa atin. (We have all-out support from the Hong Kong government).”

Police officers were also busy making sure OFWs obeyed the gathering rules 

As Consul Tejada went about with his sortie, uniformed police officers in sixes conducted foot patrols around Chater Road, handing out leaflets and lugging a portable public address system reminding the workers of the “no more than two people” rule for social gathering.

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They were accompanied by female staff of the Labour and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Departments who held up placards reminding people of the social distancing measures as they moved among scattered groups of Filipinos workers.

The police public relations branch says it has not received any reports so far of Filipino or other migrant workers being booked for breaching the social distancing rules.

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